Friday, August 13, 2010

I didn't like "Wicked Under the Covers" by Barbara Pierce.

I'm really surprised this book has so many 4 and 5 star reviews on Amazon. I was tempted to give it 2 stars but the writing is decent even if I didn't like the plot or the hero and didn't believe the way the heroine acted.

Fayre, the heroine, starts the book by sleeping with Lord Standish because she loves him and believes he loves her. Soon she discovers she is merely a pawn in a revenge plot by her father's ex-mistress. She is "ruined" but there seem to be few consequences other than not being invited some places and putting up with snide innuendo. What seems more unbelievable is that Lord Standish was free to go about trashing her reputation without any social consequences. Fayre asked her father and brother not to challenge Standish but it's hard to believe a duke wouldn't have some pressure to bear on Standish (directly or through his father) to get him to stop talking about her.

I really disliked the hero, Maccus. He has some characteristics of a good romantic hero -- rising from humble beginnings to become wealthy -- but he acts like a bully and a manipulator and I cannot tolerate that in a romantic hero. Knowing what happened to Fayre, he badgers her and treats her rather badly to get her to help him gain entry into society. If he had simply gotten an introduction and explained how his plan could benefit them both, it would have made sense. But he grabs her out of her carriage at the park and basically acts like a jerk around her. Despite this, Fayre agrees to his plan and then proceeds to act in a way that makes no sense for someone trying to overcome social ruin. She starts meeting Maccus regularly at his house for lessons on how to fit into society. (One would think a family with a ruined daughter would keep closer watch on her so this wouldn't happen.) Meanwhile, Maccus is all over Fayre physically with no consideration for her reputation. Some readers might consider him a handsome rogue but it wasn 't romantic or heroic to me. He came off as a jerk and bully. And with no thought to how badly sleeping with Standish turned out for her, Fayre gets physically involved with Maccus. She is supposed to be a smart and spunky heroine but she came across to me as careless and foolish, which didn't make sense considering the social position she was in. And that's even given the romance genre where young innocent women are overcome with passion and sleep with men to whom they are not married or betrothed.

I see there are other books in the series about the Carlisle family: "Sinful Between the Sheets (Carlisle Family, Book 2)" and "Naughty by Nature (Carlisle Family, Book 3)." I won't be reading them.

I bought this book at a library book sale.  At least I didn't pay full price for it.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

"Betrayed" by Robert K. Tanenbaum (4 stars)

I've been reading this series since the beginning and had not enjoyed the more recent entries as much because they had stopped being true legal thrillers and were more like terrorist thrillers starring the Karp family. This novel is a throwback to the classic early Butch Karp novels where the criminal case is the star of the book.

This book is the culimination to a series within the series with some related bad guys over the last several books. To follow the players, you should at least have read Capture (Butch Karp Thrillers) and probably should read Escape, Malice and Absolute Rage. These books all have the Karp family and friends involved in foiling terrorist plots against New York.

I think the series was at its best in the first 15 novels where Michael Gruber was involved in the writing and the stories were more courtroom oriented. In the last 5-6 books, the focus came away from the courtroom and weren't as interesting to me.

For that reason, I enjoyed this book much more than the previous several. If you loved all the terrorist plots and shootouts and Lucy in danger and are bored with the courtroom drama, you may be disappointed in this book. This book follows directly after "Capture" with the prosecution of Imam Sharif Jabbar for the murder of a young woman that occurred in the previous book. The characters don't face a new terrorist threat, although Nadya Molovo is still on the loose and is a threat to Karp's witnesses and family. Nearly all the action involving Karp takes place while preparing for and conducting the criminal trial of Jabbar. Marlene has her own legal work as Dirty Warren is charged with murder.

Because this book is centered on the criminal trial, many of the characters readers have grown to love from the series are not involved. Lucy, the twins, and Tran are just briefly mentioned. Jojola is a witness in the trial. Guma, Newberry and Espey Jaxon make brief appearances. That's one of the sad parts of the book being centered on the trial -- there's no reason for most of the characters to be involved in the story.

I enjoyed this book much more than the several books coming before it. It was almost a return to the kind of stories from the early part of the series. But I enjoy courtroom drama. If you enjoyed the thrills of the terrorist plots of the recent books and don't care for courtroom drama, you may not like this book as much. There are many good writers of terrorist thrillers. I enjoy when a lawyer tells a good courtroom drama so I thank the author for this throwback to the good old days of the Butch Karp series.

I got this book from the library.  Support your local library!

"Insatiable" by Meg Cabot. So-so vampire novel

Having read several other books by Meg Cabot, I had expectations of what this book would be like. It did not live up to those expectations. It was just so so for me but fans of vampire fiction might enjoy it more.

I'm not a fan of the dark and broody kind of vampire novels: I prefer my vampire novels to have a sense of humor. The two series I read are the Queen Betsy series by MaryJanice Davidson and the Sookie Stackhouse Southern Vampire Mysteries by Charlaine Harris (though both are getting a little too serious lately).

Although thankfully this book is not the dark and broody type, it also wasn't as humorous as I expected and it wasn't particularly romantic. The main character is Meena, a human who can sense when and how people are going to die. She writes for a soap opera and is a fairly likeable heroine. Her vampire love interest is Lucian, the prince of vampires. I never got a strong feeling for Lucian's character. For me, he was sort of just there like really handsome furniture. I didn't feel the love that Meena and Lucian expressed for each other, in part because they only had two dates. A love rival for Lucian is Alaric Wulf, a vampire hunter. His character pretty much annoyed me (and Meena) until some heroic action near the end of the book. Thes rest of the characters were Meena's brother Jon, her best friend Leisha, various co-workers, and her next door neighbors who are related to Lucian.

If you are a huge vampire fiction fan, you might like this. From the ending it looks like the author may have intended this to be the start of a series. If she continues it, I hope the rest of the series improves.

I got this book from the library.  Glad I didn't spend money on it!